Guilt
BBC/Expectation/Happy Tramp North/Mark Mainz

Guilt Episode Three review

It’s weird to think that we’re now three-quarters of the way through Guilt, as the sheer amount of content we’ve passed through is remarkable. The story shifts again as more developments threaten the brothers, and a darker web of circumstances embroils all of our characters. Some of our questions are answered, but even more are raised, ready for what is likely to be a gripping finale next week.

 Angie and Jake’s relationship looks to be growing, but he’s still full of suspicions about her and what she’s still doing in Scotland. Jake decides that he wants to take control of his own finances and fully own his record shop, which causes a lot of problems for Max – he’s been using the shop for a lot of shady business, and there are some very frightening people who aren’t at all pleased by Jake’s decision. But his problems are only worsening as Kenny gets closer to the truth about Walter’s death and his wife is looking elsewhere for happiness. Max always wants to be in control – so how will he react as the control starts to slip away?

Max’s problems are only worsening as Kenny gets closer to the truth about Walter’s death

The dynamic between Max and Jake has always been the major selling point of Guilt, and the shift in this third episode – as Jake starts to become more at ease with himself and his life while Max struggles with problems and circumstances – is finely observed. There’s a wonderful scene in which the two men visit the grave of their mother and simply discuss the way their lives have panned out before Max begs Jake to trust him, which is played to perfection. It’s not flashy in any sense, but it holds your attention throughout with Neil Forsyth’s dialogue and Bonnar and Sives’ acting.

We add another new character to the mix in the third instalment, in the shape of a criminal boss played by the always fantastic Bill Paterson. There’s not too much of him in this episode, but he plays him with a finely-judged combination of quiet respectfulness and blood-chilling menace – it’s clear that he’s going to be a serious threat in Guilt’s final instalment, and I fear for the brothers when they inevitably get on his wrong side. 

Guilt is building to a big and destructive climax, and I know it’s going to be gripping

The story also shifts gears quite significantly with Paterson’s arrival, meaning that Forsyth resolves a number of the hanging narrative questions. We learn the exact nature what Angie is doing in Scotland and her relationship with Sheila, and we see the conclusion of Kenny’s investigation into Walter’s death. There’s also the suggestion that Sheila may have had more to do with Walter’s passing than we first realised, and she has a little scheme of her own that may also be unravelling. Guilt is building to a big and destructive climax, and I know it’s going to be gripping.

Once again, as a negative, I want to rain on the Sian Brooke lesbian affair storyline, which detracts from Max, Jake and everything you’d rather be watching. Angie is roped in to discuss it in one scene, and there’s an attempt to connect it to the wider story in the final scene, but it still feels like a narrative detour in an otherwise focused show. This is not to criticise Brooke and Akandé’s acting, which is all fine, but it still feels like it belongs elsewhere.

There’s only one episode left in this run of Guilt, and it is still proving as compelling as ever – although it’s clearly shifting to some darker territory, it feels organic and plays well on the brother’s dynamic. We’ve a lot going on and I don’t know how Guilt is going to end, but I do know that next Thursday can’t come soon enough.

Catch up with Guilt on BBC iPlayer.

Read the rest of Reece’s reviews for Guilt: Episode 1, Episode 2.

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